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Kneehab

March 23, 2016

Two days after Christmas, I took a nasty tumble on the slopes of Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe and injured the MCL in my left knee. Ironically, Squaw Valley is the same location that I had crossed the finish line of my first 70.3 Half Ironman just 4 months earlier. Thankfully, my ACL remained intact and I didn’t have to have surgery! However, my ski season was over and I was prescribed 3 months of physical therapy to get my knee back to it’s strong, stable, and mobile self. Normally that much PT would be enough to drive someone insane but luckily, I have am amazing therapist Allison Nelson @ NAKOA who is extremely knowledgeable and experienced but even better, she’s fun to hang out with. It’s been a rough 3 months of limited activity but I am incredibly thankful to be swimming and riding my bike again. Here are some of the exercises that I do several times a week to keep both of my knees healthy and strong for lots of skiing, swimming, biking, yoga, stand up paddle, hiking, and running in my future!
*Not pictured in video: skier hops & slide board slides, which were added after video was filmed.

Warm-up:
Lateral Band Walks: 20 each direction. Repeat 2x.
Bank walk 2

Single Leg Band Kicks: 10 forward, 10 side, 10 back
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Main Workout: repeat 2x
Step Ups With Twists: 10 each leg
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Single Leg Hops: 12 each leg
Megan Jump

Single Leg Dips: 10 each leg
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Single Leg RDL on unstable surface: 10 each leg
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Split Squats: 12 on each leg
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Single Leg Sliders: 10 times through on each leg
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Adductor Plank Holds: 30 each side
(level 1)
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(level 2)
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Action, Train, Triathlon

The 5 Best Lap Swimming Accessories

February 9, 2016
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Growing up, my parents had to literally drag me out of the pool and off the diving board. I absolutely loved being in the water. I joined the swim team when I was 5 years old and by the time I was about 10, I was swimming year round. I even went to Stanford swim camp one summer where I became determined to swim in college.

That all changed when I was in 8th grade and was the tallest person in my class, male or female. Noting my height, my Mom suggested I try volleyball and after attending a camp at a local Junior College, I ditched swimming and embraced the bump, set, and spike. [Thanks for the suggestion Mom!] The whole volleyball thing worked out and I ended up playing in College.

Even though I was focused on volleyball in high school and college, I still occasionally got in the pool for short swim workouts and every time I did, I was reminded of why I loved swimming so much growing up. For me, swimming is a sort of meditation. Through a limited version of sensory deprivation (no sounds, no talking, no smelling), swimming allows you to focus on your breath and focus on your mind. 

Much to my delight, Tyler and I started visiting the pool regularly after we signed up for a few triathlons earlier this year. We spent about 3-4 weeks swimming on our own building up our endurance before taking the plunge and joining the Masters program at Alaga Norte Aquatic Center in Carlsbad. Joining Masters was one of the best things I’ve done for my fitness and training. More on Masters later but if you are interesting in getting your lap swim on, here are my 5 favorite swim accessories:

 

|ONE| The Necessity: Goggles

You may be tough. I know you’re tough! But nobody is tougher than chlorine! If you are going to swim laps, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, you need goggles. I suggest going to a sporting goods store such as Dick’s or Sport’s Authority and taking time to pursue their massive selection of goggles. Speedo and TYR offer various models but here are my favorites. If you want to venture outside of those two brands, ROKA, Finis, and Aqua Sphere are all great brands that have extensive variety on their sites. These are my favorites: Anything by Roka &  Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Swim Goggle

|TWO| For The Ladies (or males with luscious locks): The Swim Cap

It always makes me cringe when I see a lady getting her swim on sans swim cap. I just think of the nightmare tangle situation she will be experiencing post-swim. On top of the rats nest and the damage due to chlorine, a lady’s hair causes quite the drag while swimming. Throw it in a cap and you’ll be exponentially happier. There are so many swim cap options out there as far as color and design but they all boil down to a two options: Silicon vs. Latex. Growing up, I used to hate Silicon because of the tendency to slip but these days, I appreciate both.

  • Latex:
    • Pros: Non-Slip, OG/understated (I’m here to swim, not to make a fashion statement) or, on the other hand, if you have a super bright and crazy suit, a simple latex cap can be the perfect companion. 
    • Cons: Durability- tendency to rip if you don’t take care of them (apply baby powder between each use), can rip hair
  • Silicon
    • Pros: Friendly on hair, lots of options for design
    • Cons: Tendency to slip during a workout

It’s all about personal preference. If you’re one of those who like to express themselves via accessories, you’re going to have a lot more stylish option with the silicon route. Thanks to my friends at Jolyn Clothing, I often rock this sharky cap.

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|THREE| The Classics: Kickboard & Pull Buoy

Available at most pools free of charge or for a rental fee, there’s not need to purchase these items initially. Once you decide that the life of a mer-person is for you, there are various kick board and pull buoy options that help with certain specialized conditions

 

|FOUR| Get Faster: Paddles

Paddles are a great way to isolate your arms during a swim workout and build swimming specific pulling muscles. There are a lot of paddle options out there but these Finis Freestyle Hand Paddles are the best I’ve found because they not only help you build strength, they help with swimming technique by improving reach and distance per stroke. 

|FIVE| Hydrate: Wattle Bottle

Another thing that I don’t get about my fellow lap swimmers – so often people go sans water. Maybe this is because they are hardcore and they are training for a triathlon and during a long open water swim, you can’t sip on high quality h20 at your leisure. Props to those folks. However, I need water when I workout (I actually need more than water – I usually add coconut water or Scratch to my water bottle so I get a little sugar and electrolytes. It makes a huge difference in my ability to stay energized through a hour+ workout. As far as the actual water bottle that I prefer for deckside, I’m a fan of Alex bottles.

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Because you can’t have just 5 swimming necessityies, here are some bonus items that I love: 

|Bonus One| Mesh toiletry bag: this is one of the best amazon purchases I’ve ever made! You need this for your swim bag if you shower the pool. If you use a zip lock bag, your stuff stays wet and wet equals nasty. This bag also has a suction cup so it sticks to the shower. Perfection.

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|Bonus Two| MP3 Player: such a cool concept! Many people view lap swimming as the equivilant to watching paint dry. If you don’t take the meditative approach, I totally get where people are coming from. Staring at a black line at the bottom of a pool can get pretty boring. But what if you had a playlist full of all the hottest jams? That is a possibility with Finis’ Nepture V2 Underwater MP3 player. 

|Bonus Three| Mermaid Fin: not really a lap swimming accessory – more of an awesome swim toy that makes you feel like a legit mermaid. Brought this all the way to Mexico for my Aunt’s wedding then Anguilla for Tyler’s family vacation and had at least 30 different people try it on and mer their way around the pool. So much fun and actually quite efficient! Aquarius Monofin Blue/Aqua

|Bonus Four| Coconut Oil: protect the locks! Before I get in the water, I slather coconut oil on the ends of my hair to protect from the devastation of chlorine. Also great to keep in your swim bag to remove eye makeup before swimming and to moisturize post-swim. Be sure to buy coconut oil in a plastic container or a tube – stay away from glass! Here’s a good one: Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
 

|Bonus Five| Recovery: Designer Protein, Organic Pro 30 Protein Powder. I am aways ravenous after a swim and Organic Pro 30 is the perfect recovery beverage. I stick a shaker bottle full of almond milk and a few ice cubes in my swim bag and make a shake right after I shower. 

Action, Bike, San Diego Home, Train, Triathlon

Mt. Laguna Road Bike Ride San Diego

September 2, 2015
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Discovered: Altitude & Trees in San Diego – Mt Laguna

Located 20 miles north of the Mexican border, San Diego is basically a desert by the sea. Many people consider the climate to be near-perfect year round- the average temperature in San Diego country  is 70°F.  There is over 70 miles of coastline in San Diego county. This place is pretty fantastic and I have loved living here for the past four years. That being said, I often feel a deep longing for crisp, mountain air and lush, green trees. I didn’t know this existed in San Diego until this past weekend, when Tyler and I took our bikes (bikes of the road variety this time!) to East County past the town of Alpine and climbed up Mt. Lauguna, the tallest mountain in San Diego county at nearly 6,000 ft. The ride is a moderate 50 miler with a decent amount of climbing right off the bat.

Here’s how you can do it too…

Getting there: It’s about an hour drive from Encinitas in North County, San Diego to the park n ride where you will start the ride. Head East on hwy 8 towards the city of Alpine. A few miles past Alpine, you will approach the intersection of hwy 79 and hwy 8. Exit there and turn left where you will see a park n ride on the left side of the road. Park there and gear up! The other option is to park a little further down the road at Pine Valley.

 

The Route: because we road on a particularly hot day in August, we made sure we were rolling by 7am to beat the heat (which meant a 5am wakeup call!). In addition, we opted to ride counter-clockwise in order to get the majority of the heavy climbing over with early on in the ride.  IMG_6947

Head out from the park n ride on hwy 79. Continue on Old Highway 80 through the quaint town of Pine Valley. Continue along hwy 80 and when you turn away from hwy 8, the road becomes the Sunrise Highway. There awaits a lovely 6% average grade climb to Mt. Laguna! If you see trees, stunning views, and signs warning about ice and snow you’re going the right way! 

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Once you reach Mt. Laguna, you have a long decent, desert views, and occasional gusty winds to look forward to. We stopped at a scenic lookout for a quick break and took in the sights and noticed that the famous PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) hiking trail that runs from Mexico to Canada was right below the observation deck. Cool!

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Sunrise Hwy dead ends into hwy 79. If you go right, you can extend the ride and head up to Julian for apple pies, cider, and other treats! We opted to turn right, back to car to keep our ride at the 50 mile mark. Soon you will pass Cuyamaca Lake and several equestrian trails. Finally, a fun, curvy descent awaits! Soak in the joys of gravity and be safe! Finish the ride with a climb back to the park n ride lot. The whole thing took us 3.5 hours with a short stop built in.

Mt Laguna Ride

Stats: 50.5 miles // 4,933ft elevation // 3:23 moving 

Gear

Watch out! there are parts of the climb that have a very narrow, sometimes non-existent shoulder. If you are riding in the early morning, most of the climb is in the shade (score! but it also makes it hard for cars to see you). Make sure your bike is equipped with forward and rear facing blinky lights.

Have you rode Mt. Laguna? Share your experience in the comments below! 

Action, On the road, The Northern Home, Train, Travel, Yoga

Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon 2015

August 21, 2015
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>> Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap

We just returned from an amazing weekend in Vancouver for the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon (& yoga & party!). This is the second consecutive year that Tyler and I have raced Seawheeze but this year was extra special because my two younger sisters, Melissa and Caitlyn, flew up for the race and crushed their first half marathon! We squeezed A LOT in the four days we were in BC. Here is just a quick recap, hopefully it will convince you to sign up for Seawheeze 2016 (registration opens September 16th, 2015!) 

Background: The very first long run (more than 5 miles) I ever did was around Stanley Park during the Winter Olympics in 2010. I was in Vancouver for the entire month of the Olympics working for Oakley. The month was a blur… super long days at the Oakley safehouse helping athletes build custom eyewear for their races, trips to the venues to deliver product to athletes and cheer them on, and nights filled with parties. Lots and lots of parties. I had two great (and very fit) co-workers from South Africa who would run around Stanley Park early in the morning. They kept teasing me about the long (and late) hours I was keeping so I decided to join them on one of these early morning runs. It was an absolute game changer. We started the run in complete darkness and just as we ran under Lions Gate Bridge, the bridge lights turned off. It was magical! In the months following the Olympics, I visited Tyler often and kept the running theme going. Below is a photo of Tyler and I on a quick jump break during one of our Stanley Park seawall runs. 

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When I first found about about the Seawheeze Half Marathon back in 2013, I convinced Tyler to sign up with me. It was a great way to revisit those old running memories all while catching up with dear, dear friends in the area (like GOOD people, salt of the earth types!). 

This Year’s Race Weekend

Thursday: Tyler and I flew out of LAX after spending the day at the AVP Beach Volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach for work. As we pursued the magazine stand near our gate, we discovered that Newsweek’s cover image was  eerily similar to the official Seaweeze shorts. The ripple effect of the Seawheeze runs deep! 

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We met Caitlyn, my youngest sister, at YVR airport who flew in from SF. Since it was close to midnight, we opted to take a cab instead of the skytrain – the preferred form of transportation 99% of the time due to the nasty traffic from YVR to DT Vancouver! We got to our awesome airbnb condo in Gastown close to 1am.

>>Sidenote: highly recommend renting a condo through airbnb or VRBO instead of hotel rooms. It’s more economical and that way, you can spend more quality time with your group. It’s also great for whipping up coffee and breakfast in the mornings.

We quickly caught up with our other sister Melissa and friend Nilo before heading to bed in prep for package pickup and the showcase store the next day. Each year Lululemon releases several exclusive prints that can only be purchased at Seawheeze and people go absolutely nuts for it – like to the point that they sleep on the floor outside – talk about dedication! 

Friday: The Seawheeze store and package pickup opened at 7am so we left the condo at 6:30am and jogged down to the convention center. We arrived just before 7am to find a staggering line. The sisters ditched me about 1.5 hours into the line and I was very close to throwing in the towel but I met some nice friends in line and it wasn’t too bad. 3 hours later I got into the store to find some pretty sweet items. Although, at certain points, I kept thinking I was getting punked by Lululemon. I waited in line for 3 hours to buy full-priced Lululemon items with bugs on them? Regardless, I was stoked on the stuff I purchased and even picked up some items for my sisters. Worth it? Worth it! 

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Later that day, Tyler and I found our way to an amazing brewery called Postmark in Railtown. The food was delicious, the setting was relaxed and comfortable, and the beer was delicious (beer the day before a race? but of course, it’s part of the carb loading process!). Bonus: Postmark has it’s own soundcloud page that I have been rocking out to all week, helping ease the transition back to reality. That night, everyone regrouped to enjoy some of the fun Seawheeze pre-race festivities like airbrush tats and to attend Sunset Yoga back at the convention center. 

Sister

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After yoga, it was early to bed in prep for the light jog we were going to run on Saturday. 

Saturday: Seawheeze Race day! Thanks to the convenience of the condo, we work up and made a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter, and a banana. Since we were a big group, there were 12 of us who met at the hotel across the street from the start line. This was such a good call as the bathroom lines at the start lines were totally mobbed. Everything was mobbed, including bag check. Thank goodness for the “throw away shirt”! The morning was a bit chilly which made for perfect race weather but it was pretty cold to be walking around in a tank top. Enter the throw away shirt. Wear a long-sleeve shirt that you don’t really care about to the start line. Start the race with said shirt and as you warm up, strip it off and if you can, leave it at an aid station. No worries about bag check!

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Back to the run… I had no expectations of this race. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to run the whole thing! In all of 2015, the longest run I had gone on was 40 mins long (just over 4 miles) due to an annoying piriformis injury combined with a nasty cut to the back of my hamstring via surfboard fin that required 15 stitches. Since I am doing a Half Ironman in a month, I didn’t want to push too hard and further injure myself so I planned to take it easy. I started running with my sister Caitlyn, who had put in a solid amount of training for the race (her first half marathon!). She definitely pushed me along and I am stoked to say that we ran the entire thing and crossed the finish line together! There were certain points where my body was quite angry at me but all in all, I felt strong and this was a great confidence boost going into the Half Ironman. 

I am so so so proud of my sisters who crushed their first half marathon! They are such wonderful athletes – I have a feeling this won’t be their last running race! Also, Tyler crushed his race and got a new PR! All that swimming and biking is paying off. Our friend Nilo G was in a similar position as me and hasn’t run much this year due to a lingering injury but she was able to get through the entire race with a massive smile on her face. 

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After the race, we headed back to the condo for a nap and then headed to the Sunset Festival! This is the part that makes the Seawheeze so special! The Sunset Festival takes place on prime Stanley Park real estate – a prime piece of land that rarely allows events.

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The incredible Alex Mazerolle led a wonderful, relaxed, outdoor yoga session right as the sun started to set.

>>People: if you are ever in Vancouver, look this chick up and take one of her classes. She’s awesome! 

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The rest of the Seawheeze sunset festival was wonderful and we danced like crazy to the sweet jams of Bear Mountain, Yeasayer, and St Lucia – all while drinking Curiosity Lager – a specialty brewed lager by Stanley Park Brewing for the Seawheeze- and Okanagan Cider. Yum yum!

Sunday: On Sunday, we woke up early, rented a car, and headed North to visit friends. First stop was Whistler Village to see friends at Crankworx. This was my first time at the massive mountain bike festival and I wish I could have watched more of the events. Mountain bikers are gnarly. We got to catch the end of the Redbull Joyride event –  fusing the elements of slopestyle, dirt jump, and Nort Shore-style mt. biking – so cool!

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Crankworx in Whistler Village

After Crankworx, we headed even further North to Pemberton, the quintessential little mountain town. Our friends were just finishing up the “Slow cycle Food Sunday” – a celebration of food, farmers, and the joys of biking! We made it just in time for the after party. Love Pemberton! 

Monday: Last day in BC and we made it count. We started by hiking up to Nairn Falls just outside of Pemberton – a short little 2k jaunt to some incredibly powerful falls.   

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Next, we made our way south of Whistler for a little bungee action! Caitlyn is turning 23 on August 25th and this was her birthday wish in addition to running Seawheeze. She is so brave and is quite the daredevil and threw a massive backflip off the bridge! If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting Whistler Bungee. These guys are pros, so friendly, and make the experience awesome. Videos to come! 

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And that wraps up Seawheeze 2015! Huge hat tip to Lululemon for putting on such a memorial event. So much heart and soul is put into Seawheeze and it really shows in everything from the actual race to the festival, expo, and even the lululemon snapchat! Registration opens for the 2016 event on September 16th, 2015. This year’s race sold out in 20 minutes so if you want to race, make sure you follow Seawheeze for the exact time that registration opens.